Everyone at the farm is preparing for our sugar beet pre lift that starts next week. Trucks need to be serviced, the lifter and the topper need to be tuned up and drivers need to be lined up. Sugar beet harvest is high time for us as it is a time of high employment on our farm and possibly long hours. Luckily pre lift is short lived and is a time for the processing plant to get the kinks worked out of their system before main harvest in October.
In pre-lift growers throughout the region are given a set of dates to haul in x amounts of beets based on the number of shares and acres they have. This takes much man power as we typically have 5 or 6 trucks running, the topper tractor and the lifter tractor. The topper is a defoliator that removes the tops/foliage from the beets preparing them for lifting.
The tractor pulling the lifter also known as a harvester soon follows. The typical lifter picks the beets out of the ground and sends them through a series of rollers that remove excess dirt and trash from the beets. Roller chain then moves them to the top of the machine where they are conveyed into a truck. After the truck is loaded the beets are delivered to a piler or the plant depending on each producer’s agreement with the coop. I'll be sure to share more on sugar beet harvest as we get into the thick of things!
It’s been a tough few weeks in our rural farming community as tragedy and grief unexpectedly hit and touched many people. These are the times when I think about how blessed we are to live a life on the farm with close knit communities, but it also reminds me how fragile life is. I do not know the grief that these families and friends carry but I have learned something from it.
Love life and be kind.
Believe that there is good in the world.
Be the good in the world.
Hold loved ones close.
Pay it forward.
Love your career.
Have passion and share it.
Wake up with a smile on your face.
Go to bed with a smile on your face.
Trust in God’s plan.
The other night I had to catch myself before nasty words came spewing out of my mouth. This isn’t the first almost assault that has happened and I guarantee it won’t be the last. After a long day at the office there are days that I need five minutes to discombobulate. A time where I can shut my brain off and not think about the supper that needs to be made, the tomatoes that are getting put in the dogs kennel by our one year old, the clothes that need to be folded or the garden that needs to be weeded. I hope I’m not alone when I say it is hard to parent without your spouse at times. It just seems that with each busy season (planting, spraying, harvesting) I have to retrain myself into handling many things on my own and when things don’t go my way to not spew those thoughts/emotions out on my spouse.
So how do I do it? I’m not really sure, but I guess there are some things that I do on a nightly or weekly basis to ensure a happy farm family! So here it goes:
1. Rest – this isn’t so much my rule as a family farm rule. This is one that has been passed down through generations so that we may attend church and have a day of rest with the Lord and our family. It is crazy that one day can reenergize all of us and prepare us for the week ahead. Plus who doesn’t love an extra board game or a swing in the hammock?
2. Meal Planning – this comes and goes with the seasons. When it is “go” time I like to have meals prepped on Sunday so the weeknights are a little easier on the whole family. This way I don’t let Mr. Farmer have it for things he or I cannot control…like a screaming toddler at your feet because he hasn’t ate in the last 5 minutes.
3. One-on-One time – this does not only apply to the kids but to Mr. Farmer as well. Our daughter goes to bed about a half later than our son, we use this time to play an extra board game, read a book or share an extra scoop of ice cream. This is a little tougher with our son as he is a one year old, but he loves to rock and is just starting to get into books. When Mr. Farmer gets in late and I’m ready to crash I know even if we get fifteen minutes before I hit the hay to snuggle on the couch and hash out the day, things are much better in our world.
4. Housework – don’t let it pile up. Now my house is not white glove approved by any means and I don’t expect it to be, but when the house gets filthy Momma about loses it. I’ve found that if I do the dishes right after supper and spread laundry throughout the week I am a much calmer mom and wife. Tasks such as vacuuming should be done more often, because I know stale cheerios could be found in the couch cushions and a week old sippy of milk is stashed in the lazy susan , but dangit the kids are happy. So I guess I clean what needs to be cleaned and leave the rest until I’ve gone crazy ;)
5. Keep calm and farm mom on
It seems as though life keeps whizzing by and if I am lucky I catch a glimpse of it in the rearview mirror. Wheat has been off for two plus weeks and we are preparing to start pre-lift on sugar beets. Our garden continues to be a weedy mess, but man does the sweet corn taste good! I can’t quite figure out the growing difference this year as some of the vegetables in the garden are doing phenomenal while others quite frankly suck! The kale came, but not the lettuce. Half a row of carrots grew, but not the other half (even after I replanted, insert eye roll). Half of the tomatoes have blight the other half does not. The one that has blown me out of the water this year has been the cabbage. We could have cabbage for every meal…
Cabbage slaw sautéed with over easy eggs
Grilled cabbage with pork chops
Cabbage in our lettuce salad
Coleslaw on pulled pork sandwiches
Cabbage fermented into sauerkraut
Cabbage topped ice cream
Oh crap not the last one, but seriously we could if we wanted too. I spent one Sunday a couple of weeks ago shredding three heads of cabbage into about 5 gallons of sauerkraut that will ferment for about six weeks. Not sure why we need FIVE gallons of sauerkraut, but I will attribute it to my German heritage. You might think the cabbage is gone after that…absolutely not. We still have three heads in the garden, so I am taking suggestions as to what we should make with this cabbage so 1) It does not go to waste and 2) My family does not have to put cabbage on their ice cream ;)
I'm Lisa, a farm wife, mom and old lady at heart (or my husband tells me so). Agriculture, quilting, and baking were my first loves and now I get to enjoy them with my family!